Jerry Heasley
June 1, 2004

In the world of restomods, anything goes. At first, Debra Ware of Grand Prairie, Texas, didn't realize the world of building Mustangs could put her in Neverland, where you don't have to grow up if you don't want to.

"Originally, the car was Dark Moss Green. And I couldn't do that." For the next departure from stock, Debra explained, "I'm so short that I couldn't put the factory bench seat back in the car, so I put buckets in it." A light went on. "That's when I decided I could do anything I wanted with the car. So I went through a lot of color choices. Larry at Southwest Classics said, 'You know, you can never go wrong with black.'"

The fun was just beginning, with a new attitude that was a sharp contrast to Debra's previous four years. "I had a '68 coupe when I was a kid so I wanted another Mustang. When I started looking, I couldn't find a nice coupe, so I eventually decided a convertible was a better investment and bought this one. Then, I had to replace everything on it. The only piece of original sheetmetal is the decklid."

Today, Debra is less likely to talk about "investment" in her choice of Mustangs. The '66 convertible turned into a dream show Mustang because she got creative and built what she wanted.

"I decided black would be perfect, especially since I love the black and gold Hertz paint scheme from the Shelby GT350Hs." The gold striping pattern continues under the hood on the oval air cleaner, which filters air to a Pony Carburetors three-deuce setup on top of the 289 Hi-Po.

"As a joke, I started to tell Chris to paint the gold stripes underneath the carpet too." Chris Becker is the owner of Advantage Auto Works in Dallas. He did the paint and bodywork, and added the Shelby fiberglass hood and side scoops. Then he sent the car to Southwest Mustang in nearby Arlington where Larry Hackney took over the mechanical work, including installing the engine and T5 five-speed.

Debra gives credit to Chris and Larry for their work. "They did all the work. I got a part-time job at Home Depot so I could write the checks."

Debra was so grateful she promised Chris and Larry she would put the car on the show circuit the first year. Debra made a gross understatement when she said the car "did pretty good."

"I entered the Dallas ISCA Autorama and won my class. I won class at the Fort Worth Rod & Custom show too. But I was really surprised when they gave me the Outstanding Ford award. I couldn't believe I beat the original Shelby GT500 on display behind me."

When we photographed Debra's '66, the show-car obligation was over. So it was time to put the car back on the road, right?

Wrong. Debra needed another excuse and found several good ones. The car was "too nice" to drive daily, she figured. Plus, a convertible is a fair-weather car and winter had arrived once again.

"It'll probably stay in the garage until the first of February because I think I'm going to take it back to the Autorama this year. I guess I'm an out-of-control car person."

Debra's GT350H convertible has definitely delivered her to Neverland.